What Is SEO Management?
SEO management is a set of tactics you use both on and off your website to improve your visibility in search engine results.
And this process never ends.
Search engine algorithms and user preferences are always changing. So, sites need ongoing SEO maintenance.
Who does this work?
SEO management is typically handled by in-house, agency, or freelance SEO managers. Who are responsible for a variety of SEO tasks—from keyword research to technical optimizations.
Let’s explore these tasks and the categories they fall under in more detail.
On-Page vs. Off-Page vs. Technical SEO Management
Let’s dive into the most important SEO tasks across these three categories.
On-Page SEO Management
On-page SEO management involves taking actions on your webpages to help search algorithms better understand and rank your content.
Here are some typical on-page SEO efforts:
Review your content regularly to ensure it’s accurate, relevant, and helpful. Which will increase the odds that it ranks well.
For instance, check past articles for outdated examples, statistics, and images. Or add some helpful, relevant ones if there aren’t any there already. And consider rewriting or expanding articles that don’t add value for readers.
Keep creating new SEO content as well. To cover additional relevant topics you may be missing.
You can use Topic Research if you need to come up with some fresh ideas. Just enter a broad topic related to your business to uncover a bunch of related ideas.
Internal links are links from one page on your website to another page on your website.
They’re a way to pass authority from page to page. Which can help search engines understand your content and rank it more efficiently.
When you add new content, look for opportunities to link to it from your existing pages.
And when you remove or update URLs, make sure to update any internal links that point to it.
A great way to get more value out of internal linking is to perform an internal link audit. And you can use Semrush’s Site Audit tool for this.
Go to the tool, configure the settings, and click “Start Site Audit.”
Once the crawling is done, click the project name to access your audit data.
You’ll now be in the “Overview” report.
Next, click “View details” in the “Internal Linking” box in the middle of the screen.
You’ll now see an overview of issues on your site related to internal linking.
Start with the “Errors” (the top-priority issues) and work to fix them. Then, move on to the “Warnings” and “Notices.”
For example, you might need to replace broken internal links with live links. Or add internal links to orphaned pages (meaning pages that currently have no links from your other pages.)
Site Audit also provides helpful details on why and how to fix each of the listed issues.
Conduct regular keyword research to spot new search opportunities. Because new trends, products, or services might lead to new keywords to target.
The rise of AI prompted people to start searching for new terms. And the earlier brands create content for these terms, the better their chances of ranking for them and growing organic traffic.
You should also monitor competitors to spot keywords you might have missed. Our Keyword Gap tool can be useful here.
Enter your domain and up to four competing ones. And click “Compare”.
You’ll now be on a dashboard that shows how your keywords overlap with your competitors’ keywords.
Scroll down to the “All keyword details for:” table and click the “Missing” button.
Now, you see all the keywords your competitors rank for but you don’t.
You can sort this list by metrics like monthly search volume and keyword difficulty (a measure of how difficult it is to rank in the top 10 results for a given keyword) to identify keywords worth creating content around.
Regularly review and update your title tags (HTML elements that indicate a webpage’s title) to ensure they’re relevant and contain your target keywords.
Title tags reflect your pages’ content. So, they should change as your content changes.
Title tags show up in browser tabs, social media posts, and search engine results. Like for this search:
Test different title tags to see what improves click-through rates and rankings. Google may also rewrite the title tag based on the context.
Look for patterns in the top-ranking pages’ title tags.
Do they use a year in titles or highlight the number of examples? Try to apply these considerations to your title tags.
Regularly update meta descriptions as well. They show up in search results under the blue link and summarize your page’s content.
Like this one:
Meta descriptions should contain target keywords.
And similar to title tags, you can test different meta descriptions. To potentially boost click-through rates and organic visits. But Google might choose this text for you rather than using the meta description you provided.
Update your schema markup (code that describes content on your site to search engines) if you make any significant changes to your site or its content.
For example, you might add FAQs or new products. So, you’ll want to look for relevant schema types to use.
That helps Googe better understand and display the content of your pages.
Maintaining schema markup enables your content to show up in search with additional details like star ratings, prices, reviews, and more.
These are called rich snippets (or rich results). And you can see one below:
Why would you want this additional information to appear?
Because research shows rich SEO results receive 58 clicks out of 100 queries. Non-rich results only garner 41 clicks.
Off-Page SEO Management
Off-page SEO management involves taking actions outside of your website to boost its authority and search engine rankings.
Here are some typical off-page SEO activities:
So, you should continuously review your backlinks to understand how well your link building efforts are going.
Is a particular piece of content getting lots of backlinks? Double down on that content format.
It’s also important to monitor your competitors’ link-building efforts. To see whether they’re getting backlinks with innovative tactics.
You can use Backlink Gap to find backlinks your competitors have but you don’t.
Add your domain and up to four competing ones.
Then, click “Find prospects.”
When you see the dashboard, click the “Charts” drop-down to see a visual representation of how your Authority Score (a metric on a scale from 0 to 100 that indicates a website’s overall quality) and number of referring domains compare over the past 12 months.
Next, click “Best” in the “Prospects for:” section (and make sure your domain is selected). To list all the domains that point to your competitors but not you.
Check the boxes next to domains you’d like to reach out to as part of a link building campaign. And click the “+ Start outreach” button to send them to the Link Building Tool.
You can now start and manage your link building efforts.
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of different types of helpful content. The goal is to either get or keep your target audience interested in your brand.
It’s a good idea to regularly publish different types of content. And share it across multiple distribution channels to reach multiple audiences.
Here are several distribution channels you can explore:
- Search engines
- Paid ads
- Social media
Here’s a social post promoting one of our articles:
Your off-site content marketing efforts can benefit your SEO efforts.
Here’s one example:
Authoring a guest article on another site can help new audiences learn about your brand. And you can also get a backlink to your site.
That builds authority with both readers and search algorithms.
Regularly respond to online reviews. Both positive and negative ones. To build trust with customers and improve your brand reputation.
Because a positive brand reputation can lead to more people searching for your brand and visiting your site.
Tip: Use our Listing Management tool to update listings and reply to Google reviews from a single place.
Technical SEO Management
Technical SEO management involves optimizing your site to make it easier for search engines to navigate and to improve the user experience.
Here’s what technical SEO management typically entails:
Site speed is a confirmed ranking factor. Meaning faster load times may positively impact your search rankings.
Here’s an example of what the results might look like:
There are things you can do to increase your site’s loading speed like:
- Compressing images and videos
- Enabling browser caching
- Removing unnecessary plugins
Promptly tackling major issues that slow down your site can lead to better performance.
Tip: For a deeper dive, check out our comprehensive PageSpeed Insights guide.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics related to load time, visual stability, and responsiveness.
Google has confirmed these metrics impact search results.
That means it’s essential to keep tabs on your Core Web Vitals. And see what you can do to improve them.
You can use Google Search Console (GSC) to access your Core Web Vitals data.
Open GSC and click “Core Web Vitals” under the “Experience” tab on your main GSC dashboard.
You’ll then be able to choose between accessing data for mobile or desktop.
Click “OPEN REPORT” in the “Mobile” module to reach the dashboard with various charts and tables displaying key insights.
In the “Why URLs aren’t considered good” part, click on a specific row to see which of your URLs have that particular issue.
You can then make adjustments to fix them.
A robots.txt file tells Google’s crawlers which pages they should and shouldn’t crawl.
Some pages (like staging sites or login pages) aren’t meant to be seen by the general public. Maybe you want to keep certain PDFs and videos out of search results as well.
When you update your robots.txt file, it ensures Google knows which URLs you want it to crawl.
Keeping your robots.txt file up to date is a major part of technical SEO management.
A sitemap is a file (usually in XML format) that lists all the URLs you want indexed. To help Google quickly and effectively find your pages.
You’ll want to ensure you’ve submitted a valid sitemap to Google Search Console.
Depending on how you’ve set up your website and the plugins you’re using, updating of a sitemap with newly published pages might happen automatically. Learn more about this in our guide to XML sitemaps.
If you need to submit and update one manually, you can easily do it using Google Search Console.
Navigate to the “Sitemaps” report under the “Indexing” section in the left-hand menu.
Then, add your sitemap URL into the “Add a new sitemap” field. And click the “SUBMIT” button.
You’ll get the following message after submitting your sitemap:
How to Successfully Manage an SEO Campaign
An SEO campaign includes a set of tasks designed to reach a specific goal in a given time frame.
Let’s dive into how to manage SEO campaigns.
1. Conduct a Site Audit
It’s a good idea to start with an SEO audit. To understand how well your site is doing in terms of keyword rankings, speed, and more.
You can then assess how successful your past strategies were. And get a baseline for future SEO campaigns.
To run a technical SEO audit, open Site Audit.
Follow the configuration instructions. And click “Start Site Audit.”
You’ll then be taken to the “Overview” report.
Click on the “Issues” tab to access a list of priority tasks you can focus on fixing.
Note: Site Audit can be paired with Google Search Console to conduct an in-depth SEO audit of your site.
2. Learn About Your Competitors
Take the time to learn about your SEO competitors. So you know who you’re up against in search results to understand how much effort your own SEO campaign might require.
Are you up against corporate sites with greater authority in your niche? Or are you taking on small personal blogs?
Answering these questions gives you an understanding of how good your content and backlinks have to be. And how much time and money your SEO campaign may need.
You can use Domain Overview to get competitive insights.
Enter a competitor’s domain and click “Search.”
You’ll now reach the main dashboard that lists data points like Authority Score, the total number of backlinks, the estimated organic search traffic, and more.
The tool also lets you compare your domain against up to four competitors.
Click the “Compare domains” tab.
Then, add your domain and any other competitors you want to look into, and click “Compare”.
You’ll now see how your site compares to your competitors across various metrics.
For example, you can easily see which domain has the largest share of traffic.
Look for data insights that might reveal your strengths or weaknesses.
For instance, maybe your site has a higher Authority Score. That means you may be more likely to rank higher than your competitors in search results for relevant keywords (everything else being equal).
3. Set Clear Goals
It’s now time to set goals for your SEO campaign.
SEO goals usually revolve around boosting organic traffic, improving organic conversions, or generating backlinks.
But the campaign goals should support your main business and marketing objectives.
For example, maybe your company has aggressive revenue targets. Your SEO campaign could then be about creating conversion-focused content that will contribute to revenue.
You also want your goals to be clear and have a timetable and specific deliverables. So that you can track progress.
Here are a few examples of clear and unclear goals.
Boost the site’s organic traffic
Increase our blog’s organic traffic by 25% within six months by producing 30 new articles
Generate lots of backlinks for key pages
Generate 25 high-quality backlinks for a content hub page through outreach efforts in four months
4. Create and Execute an Action Plan
Now, break your goals into actionable steps. And each step can be owned by a dedicated person or a team.
Let’s say the goal is to boost organic traffic by at least 25% within six months by producing 30 new articles.
Here are some actionable steps for achieving this goal:
- Specify all the primary keywords you’ll target
- Create a content brief for each keyword or keyword group
- Populate the content calendar with briefs and set publish dates
- Hire three new writers
- Define the writing, editing, and image creation workflows
- Assign articles to writers
- Review and publish five articles each month
- Analyze performance and report on the blog performance each month
- Evaluate the SEO campaign as a whole after six months
This is just a high-level action plan. Each of these items also has sub-items with details like the assigned person, the due date, and more.
And some action plans may be more complex. For example, a single plan could involve writing content and growing backlinks simultaneously.
5. Monitor and Report on Performance
SEO campaigns may last for months. So, you need a way to monitor and report on SEO results to ensure you stay on track.
That means tracking SEO metrics that make sense for your goal.
If you are trying to grow organic traffic, you might want to monitor organic traffic and keyword rankings.
Position Tracking is helpful for this type of SEO monitoring.
Head to the tool, enter your domain, and click “Set up tracking.”
Then, configure the targeting, add all the keywords you want to track, and click “Start Tracking.”
Now, you’ll be able to access the position tracking reports.
Here’s a look at the “Landscape” report you’ll see first:
From here, you can access various tabs depending on which metrics you want to track.
For instance, you can head to the “Overview” tab to monitor your gains and losses in keyword ranking positions.
You can also visit the “Pages” tab. To monitor the SEO performance of all the pages that rank for at least one of the keywords you’re tracking.
Other than Semrush, you can also use Google Analytics 4 and Google Search Console to monitor organic traffic.
And monitoring is a continuous process that you can carry out on a weekly or monthly basis.
6. Evaluate the Campaign
Once the campaign end date is reached, it’s time to evaluate your campaign. To identify how successful you were and to reflect on any lessons learned.
Here are some questions you can ask to evaluate your campaign:
- Which parts of the campaign went as expected and why?
- Where did we have issues and how did we solve them?
- If we haven’t reached our objectives in our chosen time frame, why is that?
- Are there any successful, replicable tactics we discovered during the campaign?
You can also adapt these questions based on the nature of your SEO campaign.
Use what you learn to inform your future SEO campaigns. To help you meet your goals.
Improve Your SEO Management Today
Planning, creating, and managing SEO campaigns is a never-ending process.
But it doesn’t have to be frustrating.
The right tools can provide access to key information. And save time while helping improve your campaign results.
Create a free Semrush account to explore all the ways our tools can help with on-page, off-page, and technical SEO management.